Learn the fundamentals of setup, from what it is and its purpose, to what goes into it in terms of the story and structural elements necessary for it to do its job.
If you want to self-diagnose your manuscript (i.e. don’t want/have critique partners or beta readers) or you want to give your Setup Pilot Test readers a more structured questionnaire and way of rating how well your setup does to introduce your plot, I definitely recommend checking out J. Thorn’s Story Rubric.
Recommended reading before use: Ways to Identify If & Why Your Setup Doesn’t Hook
You want to make sure that all your submission and/or marketing materials are creating expectations your book will meet —market, reader experience, or structural expectations that you’ve created and must deliver on in the full manuscript.
I created this worksheet to help you double-check that alignment as you go along! You can even print out the first page as a reminder!
Recommended reading and watching before use: Matching the Premise of Your Book to its Setup and Deconstructing a Setup | The Josh & Gemma Case Study
Need help figuring out who your protagonist, love interest, and antagonist are?
I created The Three Main Character Sketch to help you not only collate the information about your characters’ physical traits, general biodata (e.g. their occupation, denomination, etc.), and their personality (their preferences, beliefs, and all the things that influence how they will behave) but to also get you to start thinking about:
- Their backstory
- The character’s beliefs & attitudes
- The internal problem or crisis they will face
- How they will grow over the course of the book
- Their internal narrative and arcs
Recommended reading before use: Using a Character Sketch to Identify Character Moments